Want to get high?

Get out of the gym and climb some real rocks.

I admit it. I like a deal just as much as anyone else. Okay, maybe a little more than the average person. When my friend needed me to be the tenth person on her indoor rock climbing deal, I agreed. Then, they shoved me in the group with the little kids. I wasn't too impressed until I noticed that we got the cute instructor. Later would I learn that this was the instructor that climbed with provincial champions and could do one-arm pull ups while eating a slice of pizza. A bit of a legend.

Imagine my delight when we returned to use our free passes the following weekend and bumped into our instructor, Fred, once again at the gym. Before I knew it, I had invited him to take me outdoor rock climbing at Rattlesnake Point in Milton. I brought a friend along and we made some tasty food as a way to thank him for taking us out for free.

Climbing the Niagara Escarpment in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

There is something so raw about outdoor rock climbing; something that makes your fingers feel so alive. Perhaps it is how you create your own way, your own path; not a route set by someone else in an artificial rock world. On a climb, I would drift into my own headspace often talking to myself. I would whisper like a parent to a small child that it was okay, I was going to be fine or coach myself that I could do it. And then, at the top, I would stop, soak in the gorgeous view and watch a turkey vulture soar in the distance. When I finally found the nerve to look down, my knees would go weak and I would remember that I am afraid of heights. I would then proceed to chant something to soothe myself as I clutched onto the rope and hoped the system would catch me. I learned to breathe through my fear and enjoy the adrenaline rush of it all. From then on, I was addicted.

Looking for the next move.

How would I have ever known that the man holding the rope with my life in his hands would be the man I would marry and then start an outdoor rock climbing business, One Axe Pursuits, with? Thirteen years later, we continue to share our life together both running the business and as climbing partners. The deal that I got that fateful day was better than I could have ever imagined.

About Christa Niravong

Christa has been an avid climber since 2000 and has trekked around the world from the Arctic to Antarctica.  She is half owner of ONE AXE Pursuits.  

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